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Perhaps I am just much more impressed with the last 30 years than you. I'm not a point-by-point rebuttal man, but its very tempting. Try thinking about the massive changes if you don't limit radical progress to being in a straight line going the direction you want.



Cars were doing 100 Mph on the German autobahn in the 60's, they're not much quicker today and most drive a lot slower than that.

There is progress, but on the transportation front from a practical point of view the biggest one so far is the electric bicycle.

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Fastest production car from the 60's that I can think of would do 171 mph (Lamborghini Miura). The fastest production car today will do damn close to 100 mph more than that (Bugatti Veyron Super Sport).

Certainly the top speed of either of those cars isn't practical, but the reason that the Veyron can go so much faster is that there have been massive improvements in automobile technology since the 60s, in just about every every way imaginable. Safety, efficiency, control, materials tech, aerodynamics, etc. That we still drive so slowly can be probably attributed to momentum in automotive laws and/or driver skill / lax license requirements. If we were willing to invest more in our roads and stop thinking of driving as a right instead of a privilege, we could be driving much faster today.

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The biggest factor is reaction time.

Also, above 100 Mph or so the aerodynamics change substantially. There is a clear cut-off point above you are definitely in 'no mistakes' territory, even ignoring a bit of cross wind as you come out from under an overpass get get you slammed into the guardrail or driven off the road.

Add to that ice, snow, rain, night conditions, glare, low sun and so on and pretty soon the driver (automated or not) is not the limiting factor but physics and getting reliable sensor inputs is.

Anything over 140 will probably not be practical for mainstream deployment, even in Germany where there are lots of skilled drivers and it isn't rare to see an old lady do 150 Km/h there is a sharp drop-off above that point reserved for those the possession of more money than brains. It simply isn't practical from a fuel consumption and safety point of view and even the safest cars are death traps at speeds beyond that.

See 'crashedexotics.com' for the end result of that route.

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Certainly when you get up into the sort of speeds things become very tricky and unpractical. The problem right now though isn't really that we aren't all driving at 100+, but that we still have all of those straight as an arrow 55/65mph roads criss-crossing fly-over country in the US. Those may have made sense at some point, but modern cars can easily do 100mph on those roads with no particularly unusual danger. Pretty much everywhere in this country speed limits are artificially low though. Most country/wooded area roads don't make any sense in cars with ABS or traction control; my limiting factor on most Pennsylvanian roads is the danger of deer, not road geometry or car capabilities.

I think with the spread of autonomous driving technology we'll be able to see even more proper, and reasonably safe, speed from cars.

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I guess you are referring about the computing revolution? There are definitely impressive things about it but it has not significantly changed our lives yet. Only the communication parts and shopping, for the most. Institutions, behaviors and culture have not changed significantly yet, if not for a minority of the population. Do not take me wrong, I also think there is a tremendous potential for innovation and progress, my point is just that it takes time. I am not THAT impressed with the past 10-20 years at least where innovation has been very slow overall across all industries, in my opinion. I do not know about you, but I think the introduction of fossil fuels in the 19th and 20th century as well as the spread of electricity, radio and television were definitely MORE life-changing that what we experience nowadays.

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I think you are missing the fact that the internet has allowed every human who can access it (less those under government filters) to have access to nearly the sum of all human knowledge. No, we don't precisely know what to do with this access just yet, but we have it. For instance, you can look up the intricacies of the 'Launch loop' in seconds and scan the contents of every academic paper relating to it in minutes. This immediacy of information is unprecedented in human history.

To say that only communication and shopping have been revolutionized in the past 20 years is grossly misinformed. Human interaction with each other, with ourselves, and with knowledge has been fundamentally changed for a very substantial portion of the population. No, it has not reached every corner of the globe, but neither has electricity, radio, or television.

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My point is, it has not changed the world yet. Access to information is great but who cares? Do you see many people hanging in libraries instead of going drinking to the bar? No. Same at home: most people waste their evenings watching TV or on Facebook and do not spend it reading Wikipedia and getting more knowledgeable about everything. The problem has never been so much about access, but wanting to access the information. So it's like having a rocket ship when all you need is a bicycle to go where you need in everyday life. Not useful for many people.

And let me question your claims about knowledge being fundamentally changed. Kids still go to school. Still pass exams the same way as 50 years ago. Education has not changed at all, except for a pocket of people who follow coursera or other online systems. It's all very small and you are probably exaggerating the impact because you are aware of it and living in that particular tech-sphere. Not everyone read Hacker News, not everyone knows how to use computers, and most people who have computers do the same very basic things with them every single day. At least my claims are substantiated. Amazon has clearly changed shopping, and Skype/IM/email has drastically made communication cheap and led to calls being very affordable in almost every location in the world. For other things, change is not so visible and apparent.

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> Access to information is great but who cares? Do you see many people hanging in libraries instead of going drinking to the bar? No.

Everyone. Because what changed is not only the amount of information, but also the immediacy of access to it. Those people going drinking to the bar quite likely found it on Google before going there for the first time. And those same people now Google up everything they want to know the moment they need it, including many practical things. "Normal" (non-tech) people, from my observation, tend to look up on-line many things in their life, for example gift ideas, travel & tourism information and practicalities ("how to do X").

You could also argue that it is the first time so many people are exposed to such a big amount of cultural work - including pirated movies, music, YouTube and Internet memes. People share common culture across the globe, and the Internet itself slowly starts to behave like a single brain.

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